KOROR, Palau—Eleven livestock extension and biosecurity officers from the Bureau of Agriculture and Koror State Animal shelter who are involved in animal health services, are taking part in a Para Veterinarian (paravet) training that was launched on 14 March. This is being followed by a one week of orientation (March 14-18) at the Penthouse Hotel in Koror, Palau.
The training is being implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC) in collaboration with Bureau of Agriculture and the State veterinarian of the Republic of Palau.
Due to its direct link to South East Asia trade markets, Palau is considered a high risk country as far as biosecurity risks in the Pacific is concerned. For this reason, it is important that Palau has trained animal health people on the ground to be able to prevent entry and spread of serious animal diseases that are not present in Palau and other Pacific Island countries.
The introductory Paravet training module is a distance learning programme of 12 Units covered in 16 weeks. The course covers all aspects of animal health, animal production, zoonosis and biosecurity. A summer school would be conducted on the last week of the course when the trainees take part in practical sessions, clinical manipulations and handling of locally available animals including sheep, pigs and cattle, and theory revision.
For competency assessment purposes, the course consists of three assignments and a one week summer school after the end of the 16-week course, during which trainees are assessed for their practical skills by SPC and local vets. Final assessment comprises an oral and a written exam at the end of the week. In-country tutors provide tutorship and mentoring of the trainees throughout programme.
For the sustainability of the programme, SPC is encouraging agricultural training institutes in the region to incorporate the course into their curriculum. So far the Fiji National University and the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) have included these subjects into their curriculum.
Since its inception in 2003, SPC has conducted paravet training in 16 Pacific Island countries. (SPC)